The third and final edition of the Nas x FUTURA Hip Hop 50 collaboration is here. Legendary visual artist FUTURA and lyrical master Nas have joined forces with 12on12 to create an extraordinary limited edition vinyl record set. This unique project, which melds the worlds of hip hop and graffiti, was unveiled in an engaging interview where the two cultural icons shared insights into the creation of the artwork and the deeper significance behind the endeavour.

Origins of the Collaboration

Initiated in 2023 to coincide with Hip Hop's 50th anniversary, the project celebrates the genre's profound cultural impact. Nas curated a selection of tracks that honoured the Hip Hop’s rich history and evolution. Featuring iconic tracks from Eazy-E, Eric B. & Rakim, Notorious B.I.G, Mobb Deep, previous 12on12 collaborators RUN DMC, Nas himself & more. FUTURA translated his artistic vision into a visual narrative that would encapsulate the essence of this milestone.


FUTURA Art Dissection

“Hip Hop” culture as we know it today was just emerging. Within this culture, the graffiti movement was also developing. FUTURA 2000 was part of it all. He had always been into sci-fi and anything futuristic, especially growing up in the ’60s witnessing the first man on the moon. He was drawing robotic characters early on. The idea of DJs, MCs, breakdancers, and graffiti writers/artists jamming together was just for fun.

In FUTURA’s FUTURE LOOK FOR FLASH painting, he focused on the DJ as the main character, the conductor of the party, but putting it in a robotic world—it’s a ‘Future Look’. The robot DJ is spinning on four hovering turntables, which was quite imaginative 42 years ago. The robot isn’t meant to be Grandmaster Flash. He was the most popular DJ, so he borrowed his name. When the triptych paintings are placed together, the figuratively abstract feature is that it spells out F-U-T-U-R-A (see attached).

When the graffiti movement moved to the art galleries, naturally, paintings were made on traditional canvases, inside of train cars. But FUTURA always wanted not to do what everyone did, so he decided to paint on metal sheets. Metal takes paint well, but he had a period where he painted on different metal pieces. Also, robots are made of metal.

Photography by Louis Kassam (@louiskassam)

Hip Hop and Graffiti: A Symbiotic Relationship

Throughout the interview, Nas reflected on the deep-rooted connection between hip hop and graffiti. For him, these two art forms have always been intertwined, each influencing and elevating the other. He shared nostalgic memories of his own attempts at graffiti during his youth and the inspiration he drew from iconic Hip Hop films like "Wildstyle" and "Beat Street." These movies depicted the raw energy and creativity that defined the early days of hip hop culture.

FUTURA shared his perspective on the evolution of graffiti alongside hip hop. He reminisced about the vibrant New York City scene in the '70s and '80s, where artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were pushing the boundaries of street art. FUTURA highlighted the camaraderie and shared experiences among these artists, which contributed to the cultural tapestry of that era.

Creating the Vinyl Set

Nas delved into the meticulous process of selecting tracks for the vinyl set. With Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary as a backdrop, he carefully curated songs that encapsulate the genre's golden era, blending nostalgia with timeless beats. Despite the challenge of narrowing down such a rich musical history, Nas managed to compile a collection that reflects the essence of Hip Hop, offering listeners a journey through its transformative years.

The vinyl set is more than just a compilation of tracks; it is a piece of art. FUTURA's visually captivating artwork complements Nas's musical curation, resulting in a holistic and immersive experience for collectors and fans. FUTURA, who has a history of designing iconic album covers, expressed his excitement about delivering a product that is both artistically significant and musically enriching.

Photography by Louis Kassam (@louiskassam)


The Timeless Appeal of Vinyl

Both Nas and FUTURA emphasized the enduring appeal of vinyl records. Nas, who primarily listens to music on vinyl, spoke about the unique and tactile experience of engaging with music in this format. He highlighted the ritual of selecting a record, placing it on the turntable, and immersing oneself in the sound quality and physicality of vinyl. FUTURA added that vinyl offers a bridge between generations, allowing newer audiences to connect with the past and appreciate the historical context of music.

A Celebration of Authenticity

The collaboration underscores a shared commitment to authenticity. In an era dominated by digital media and mass production, both Nas and FUTURA value the genuine expression and originality that vinyl records and original artwork represent. They believe this project serves as a testament to the timelessness of Hip Hop and graffiti, celebrating their roots while inspiring future generations.


Photography by Louis Kassam (@louiskassam)

Looking Forward

Nas and FUTURA's collaboration with 12on12 is more than a celebration of the past; it is a statement about the future of Hip Hop and street art. By merging their talents, they have created a legacy piece that will inspire and resonate with audiences for years to come. The vinyl set not only commemorates Hip Hop's 50-year journey but also paves the way for continued innovation and creativity in both music and visual art.

Photography by Louis Kassam (@louiskassam)


The unveiling of this vinyl record collaboration between Nas and FUTURA is a landmark event that transcends the typical product launch. It is a celebration of cultural heritage, artistic innovation, and the enduring power of authentic expression. By combining music and visual art, Nas and FUTURA have created a masterpiece that honors Hip Hop's storied legacy. Fans and collectors now have the opportunity to own a piece of history, a tangible manifestation of the creative synergy between two of the most influential figures in contemporary culture.

June 18, 2024

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